Review: SEE YOU IN A MINUTE at The Chapel

Contraband Theatre presents the World Premiere Production of Jacob Juntunen's Emotion Packed Play

By: Oct. 21, 2023
Review: SEE YOU IN A MINUTE at The Chapel
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The global pandemic the world just experienced resulted in significant mental health effects for much of the population. During the health crisis, many suffered the loss of a loved one, significant illness, loss of job, and loss of friendships. Arduous demands were placed on healthcare workers. Educators faced immense stress that resulted in many leaving the teaching profession. The arts community experienced a complete shutdown.  

SEE YOU IN A MINUTE, the new play by Jacob Juntunen, examines the effects of a global pandemic on a single family. Set in 2041, the world is experiencing the next global pandemic when Kathryn returns home from New York City to care for her parents, Joe and Deb. Living in a new sci-fi world of Smart Cities, residents now communicate using virtual technology to get data, information, and permission from their city to venture outside during the pandemic. The smart city is equipped to tell residents anything they need to know, including the daily infection risk from the current pandemic.  

Juntunen’s play explores the family dynamics of an adult child returning to live with and care for her parents. Kathryn’s return is complicated by both the fear and stress from the current pandemic and her unresolved emotions from the previous pandemic when she was preschool age. The brilliant script relies on familial dialogue that is both authentic and believable. It is as if the audience is eavesdropping on an actual family who are exposing their cares, concerns, and love for one another.  

SEE YOU IN A MINUTE tackles difficult topics with humor and pathos. Director Ellie Schwetye collaborates with a cast of richly talented actors who tug at your heartstrings with an empathic approach to a story that affected the world’s population. She uses Caleb D. Long’s creative set design to easily move the action between the two bedrooms of Kathryn and her parents. Long’s set design and the uncredited sound design illustrated vision that gave this play a realism, even with the futuristic concept of what technology may be like in 2041 when people are living in a ‘smart city.’  

The magnificent cast, especially Ricki Franklin as Kathryn, Joseph Garner as Joe, and Kelly Howe as Deb, created a convincing family. All three actors offered genuine performances that were nuanced and subtle. Franklin’s impressive performance conveyed all the emotions that stem from living with your parents after becoming a self-sufficient adult. Garner and Howe dote on and smother their daughter with the affection and care you would expect from the parents of a young child. All three actors fully commit to this real-life scenario that so many experience when an adult child returns home to care for older parents and the parents still treat the child as a youngster.  

One of the many mechanisms written into Juntunen’s script includes the use of puppets to unpack the emotional turmoil pandemics can force upon a family. Franklin, Garner and Howe’s fearless embodiment of the puppetry is magnificent. Each time they take on the role of one of the puppets, they fully commit to a physicality and vocal inflection that conveys the scenario of a parent playing with their young child. Franklin magnificently morphs into her childlike persona, including the vocal tone and body language of a preschooler. Garner is equally marvelous as he voices the mischievous puppet named ‘Bad Dog Bear.’ Howe is equally impressive when she steps in for Garner, mimicking his tone and body language when he not available to play with his daughter. While the use of puppets initially seems contrite and silly, it is the playful nature of the three family members that hammers home the emotional climax of the show.  

SEE YOU IN A MINUTE examines many of the mental health challenges faced by society during a pandemic. It unpacks the themes of grief, loss, societal pressures, work considerations, and family dynamics. So many of the topics will resonate with an audience member based on their firsthand experiences with the COVID pandemic. This world premiere production of SEE YOU IN A MINUTE is compelling because of its relevance, its intelligent and well-written script, the sharp direction, and the terrific performances from all the actors. SEE YOU IN A MINUTE continues its run at The Chapel through October 28th. It is presented without intermission and late seating cannot be accommodated due to the set design. Click the link below to purchase tickets.  


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